Krystle’s Review of Mia Asher’s debut novel Arsen


Arsen was a gritty, raw and real read for me.

It was equal parts disturbing, shocking, heartwrenching, sickening and exciting.

The more that I read the more that I am realizing that I like when authors take risks and do something different that what everyone else is doing. I like it when a book shocks me or leaves me stunned and I gotta tell you that I am blown away with with Mia Asher’s ability to do this in her debut novel.
The characters in this book were quite intense. I had such conflicting feelings about all of them. Cathy, Arsen and Ben, the three main characters in this book, all ripped so many different emotions out of me. I could relate to them at times, I felt sorry for them, I was beyond angry with them, I wanted to get deeper inside their thoughts and I wanted to knock some sense into them all at the same time. While I found myself disgusted by most of Cathy & Arsen’s actions I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them both at times. On the other hand, my heart hurt for Ben for most of the book but eventually I stopped feeling sorry and just wanted him to stand up for himself and stop taking the abuse! Cathy’s Dad and her friend Amy were the only characters in the book that didn’t make my head spin. They were both very strong secondary characters that I believe added a lot to the story.

For me, the POVs in this book were a little hard to digest. I felt as though we were constantly being thrown between past and present and then on top of it alternating POV’s with different characters. I wouldn’t say this was a deal breaker for me but it wasn’t very appealing.

All in all I was impressed with Arsen. I think Asher took a risk with this book and delivered a really good debut novel. I spent a lot of the book feeling torn between whether the outcome I was hoping for was right or wrong.

Arsen made me think, a lot. I struggled a lot with whether or not I was hoping for forgiveness or if I thought too much damage had been done.

When does something cross over the line to being unforgiveable? Do the reasons behind certain actions matter enough to change the outcome of those actions or once something is done is the damage permanent?

I really don’t know the answer to these questions and even after finishing the book I can’t stop thinking about all of the different possible outcomes.

Taking everything into consideration I’d give this book 4 stars. I’d definitely recommend it to those looking for something different and you can take raw and heartwrenching.



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